Advice from a Tree


Advice from a Tree

By Ilan Shamir



Dear Friend,

Stand Tall and Proud Sink your roots deeply into the Earth Reflect the light of a greater source Think long term Go out on a limb Remember your place among all living beings Embrace with joy the changing seasons For each yields its own abundance The Energy and Birth of Spring The Growth and Contentment of Summer The Wisdom to let go of leaves in the Fall The Rest and Quiet Renewal of Winter

Feel the wind and the sun And delight in their presence Look up at the moon that shines down upon you And the mystery of the stars at night. Seek nourishment from the good things in life Simple pleasures Earth, fresh air, light

Be content with your natural beauty Drink plenty of water Let your limbs sway and dance in the breezes Be flexible Remember your roots

Enjoy the view



The Four Agreements


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The Four Agreements -Don Miguel Ruiz’s Code for Life

Don Miguel Ruiz’s Code for LifeIn his book, The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz gives us four principles to practice in order to create love and happiness in our lives. Embracing these agreements is simple in theory, but may be difficult in practice. Actually living and implementing these Four Agreements into your daily life can be challenging, especially at first. However, committing to and living these principles can be extremely uplifting and impactful.


As you begin to integrate these four agreements, your life will noticeably change. You may struggle at first, but with fortitude and practice these agreements become part of who you are and become integrated into every aspect of your life.




The Four Agreements are:


The First Agreement: Be Impeccable with Your Word

The Second Agreement: Don’t Take Anything Personally

The Third Agreement: Don’t Make Assumptions

The Fourth Agreement: Always Do Your Best



Agreement 1

Be Impeccable With Your Word – Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using your word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.



Agreement 2

Don’t Take Anything Personally – Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.




Agreement 3

Don’t Make Assumptions – Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.




Agreement 4

Always Do Your Best – Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.




The Other Wes Moore

Self Identity

The Other Wes Moore


Two kids with the same name, liv­ing in the same city. One grew up to be a Rhodes Scholar, dec­o­rated com­bat vet­eran,  White House Fel­low, and busi­ness leader. The other is serv­ing a life sen­tence in prison for felony mur­der. Here is the story of two boys and the jour­ney of a generation.


In Decem­ber 2000, the Bal­ti­more Sun ran a small piece about Wes Moore, a local stu­dent who had just received a Rhodes Schol­ar­ship. The same paper also ran a series of arti­cles about four young men who had allegedly killed a police offi­cer in a spec­tac­u­larly botched armed rob­bery. The police were still hunt­ing for two of the sus­pects who had gone on the lam, a pair of broth­ers. One was named Wes Moore.


Wes just couldn’t shake off the unset­tling coin­ci­dence, or the inkling that the two shared much more than space in the same news­pa­per. After fol­low­ing the story of the rob­bery, the man­hunt, and the trial to its con­clu­sion, he wrote a let­ter to the other Wes, now a con­victed mur­derer serv­ing a life sen­tence with­out the pos­si­bil­ity of parole. His let­ter ten­ta­tively asked the ques­tions that had been haunt­ing him: Who are you? How did this happen?


That let­ter led to a cor­re­spon­dence and rela­tion­ship that has lasted for sev­eral years. Over dozens of let­ters and prison vis­its, Wes dis­cov­ered that the other Wes had a life not unlike his own: Both had grown up in sim­i­lar neigh­bor­hoods and had dif­fi­cult child­hoods, both were father­less; they’d hung out on sim­i­lar cor­ners with sim­i­lar crews, and both had run into trou­ble with the police. At each stage of their young lives they had come across sim­i­lar moments of deci­sion, yet their choices and the peo­ple in their lives would lead them to aston­ish­ingly dif­fer­ent destinies.


Told in alter­nat­ing dra­matic nar­ra­tives that take read­ers from heart-wrenching losses to moments of sur­pris­ing redemp­tion, The Other Wes Moore tells the story of a gen­er­a­tion of boys try­ing to find their way in a chal­leng­ing and at times, hos­tile world.




Rules Of Life


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Cherie Carter-Scott’s Rules Of Life



“Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.” – Helen Keller




Below is a brief summary of Cherie Carter-Scott’s Rules Of Life. If you are interested in making the most of your life, and helping others do the same, buy “If Life Is A Game, These Are The Rules.”



Rule One – You will receive a body.

You may love it or hate it, but whether you love it or hate it, it’s yours for life, so accept it. What counts is what’s inside.



Rule Two – You will be presented with lessons.

You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called “life”. Each day in this school you will have the opportunity to learn lessons. These lessons specific to you, and learning them “is the key to discovering and fulfilling the meaning and relevance of your own life.” You may like the lessons or hate them, but you have designed them as part of your curriculum. Every person or incident is the Universal Teacher.



Rule Three – There are no mistakes, only lessons.

Growth is a process of experimentation. The failed experiments are as much as a part of the process as the experiments that work.



Rule Four – The lesson is repeated until learned.

Lessons will be repeated to you in various forms until you have learned them. You will know you’ve learned a lesson when your actions change. When you have learned them, you can go on to the next lesson. If you don’t learn easy lessons, they get harder.



Rule Five – Learning does not end.

There is no part of life that does not contain lessons. While you are alive there are always lessons to be learned. Accept the process of constant learning and change. Be humble enough to always acknowledge your own weaknesses, and be flexible enough to adapt to new possibilities.



Rule Six – “There” is no better than “here”.

The other side of the hill may be greener than your own, but being there is not the key to endless happiness. When your “there” has become “here” you will simply obtain another “there” that will look better to you than your present “here”. Be grateful for and enjoy what you have, and where you are on your journey. Appreciate the abundance of what’s good in your life, rather than measure and amass things that do not actually lead to happiness.



Rule Seven – Others are only mirrors of you.

You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects something you love or hate about yourself. Therefore, be tolerant and accept others as they are.



Rule Eight – What you make of your life is up to you.

You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you. Take responsibility for yourself. Learn to let go when you cannot change things. Take charge of your life or someone else will.



Rule Nine – Your answers lie inside of you.

You know more than you have heard, read, or been told. All you need to do is look, listen, and trust. Trust your instincts and your innermost feelings. Draw on your natural inspiration.



Rule Ten – You will forget all this at birth.

We are all born with all of these capabilities, but our early experiences lead us into a physical world, away from our spiritual selves, so that we become doubtful, cynical and lacking belief and confidence.






Contribute a Verse


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Contribute a Verse



Dead Poets Society


“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, ‘O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless–of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?’ Answer. That you are here–that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”



O Me! O Life!

by Walt Whitman


O Me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring;  

Of the endless trains of the faithless—of cities fill’d with the foolish;  

Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)  

Of eyes that vainly crave the light—of the objects mean—of the struggle ever renew’d;  

Of the poor results of all—of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me;

Of the empty and useless years of the rest—with the rest me intertwined;

The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?




That you are here—that life exists, and identity;  

That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.







Goal Setting Tips


Goal Setting Tips


Traditional goal setting wisdom has taught us that a good goal must be;

S – Specific

M – Measurable

A – Attainable

R – Rewarding

T – Time-bound


Although these are essential foundational elements of goal setting, below are some additional suggestions and ideas that will help you to better achieve your personal goals:

Write down your goals

By writing down your goals, you create a greater commitment to reaching them.  It is estimated that only 3 percent of people actually write specific goals that they want to accomplish.  Many people will say they have goals or have set goals for themselves, but if you ask them if they have written them down, the answer is usually “no.”  Those you write down specific measurable goals that they want to achieve are exponentially more likely to achieve those goals.

State each goal as a positive statement

Express your goals positively.  For example, “run the 100 meter race with perfect form” is a better goal than “Don’t flail or wave my hands all over while running”, or “make solid contact with the ball” is better than “don’t strike out.”  A positive statement, presents a positive image, and a positive image depicts a joyful outcome which in turn provides positive motivation and instills confidence.

Make your goals challenging

Goals that are not challenging do not provide the needed motivation to reach them.  However, take care to set goals that are realistic.  One of the toughest tasks in goals setting is finding the balance between challenging and realistic.  If is often best to first set a goal that is clearly realistic then after reaching that goal, assess its difficulty.  After assessing and evaluating the results, set your next goal so that it is more challenging.  The reason you first set a goal that is clearly realistic is because you want to ensure early success.  If you set a goal to lofty and do not reach it, it becomes de-motivating and often people will quit or give up on their goal.

Set performance goals rather than outcome goals

You should set goals over which you have as much control as possible.  Goals based on outcomes are extremely vulnerable to failure because of things beyond your control such as bad weather, level of competition, coaching decisions, or simply bad luck.  For example, you might achieve a personal best time in a race, but still come in last because of the level of competition.  If you had set an outcome goal of being in the top three, then you would have failed to meet your goal.  However, if you set a performance goal of achieving a specific time, then you will have achieved the goal and can draw satisfaction and motivation from its achievement as well as increased self-confidence.

Take daily actions towards the goal

All goals require action.  A goal without action is just a dream.  The best goal will never materialize unless consistent action is taken.  Therefore, do something everyday, no matter how significant, towards your goal.

Visualize yourself accomplishing the goal

Picture yourself in vivid detail as if you have already achieved the goal.  For example, if you want to lose weight, visualize yourself weighing your ideal weight.  Do this repeatedly until it becomes part of your subconscious mind.

Share your goals

One of the biggest factors in achieving your goals is your increased dedication to achieving your goals created by other people knowing what you want to achieve.  By sharing your goals, you create a form of peer pressure for yourself.  If others know you are trying to lose 15 pounds, they often may ask “how is it going with the weight loss?”  Individuals often will work harder at their goals, in order to avoid an awkward conversation where they are explaining why they have not lost the expected weight.  Also, by sharing your goals, others will often provide motivation and support for you.

Find others with similar goals

It is often easier for individuals to achieve their goals if they approach it as a team or collaborative effort.  For example, if you are looking to get into shape, join a gym with some friends who also want to get into shape.  This will create a bond as well as increase motivation and dedication.  You will have increased motivation to go to the gym if you know you may be letting someone else down by not going.  Also, others can provide support and encouragement as you strive to achieve your personal goals.




Steve Jobs Legacy: Design Your own Life

This article was taken from the website:  Harvard Business Review


Steve Jobs’s Legacy: Design Your Own Life


by Nilofer Merchant 


While there are many things worth celebrating of Steve Jobs’s life, the greatest gift Steve gave us is a way to design our own lives.


Steve Jobs was known for being a design god who sweated experience, and pixels and, well, everything. “Design,” he once said, “is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But, of course, if you dig deeper, it’s how it really works. You have to grok what it is all about.”


In our society, thinking for ourselves is not highly valued. Our education model was designed with the 19th century more than the 21st century in mind. It reinforces fitting in and suppresses much of the natural creativity we start with. That’s how we go from drawing and acting and make-believe to PowerPoint. If we allow creativity at all, it is limited to arts and sports. “Real work” has us looking like a Dilbert character. Between the pressures of our teachers, parents, and ultimately co-workers, we often give up any search for personal meaning as we aim to belong to a tribe. After a while, we may not even believe we have something unique to offer. Rather than figure out what we are each about, far too many of us live within the boxes others define.


But when we define ourselves by what others want, we are trying to kiss a moving butt. To live in a box defined by someone else is to deny our uniqueness. Each of us is standing in a spot no one else occupies. That unique perspective is born of our accumulated experience, perspective, and our vision. When we deny these things, we deny that which only we can bring to the situation, our onlyness. And that is surely not the way the world is made better.

I’m reminded of the ad copy Steve initiated when he returned to Apple:

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do. (Apple Inc.)


The problem with being a rebel, a misfit, a troublemaker is that the masses will not be cheering you on. Rosa Parks might be a heroine today, but at the time, she lost her job. Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr both had huge dissension within their own communities. It took Jobs years to come up with a turnaround strategy that showed what Apple could do. People forget the years between 1996-2001 where much of the market called him more insane, than insanely great.


But he knew that his journey was to apply what only he could — from his meticulous design methodology, to reimagining computing, to building a different type of company. He realized — and showed us — that our real job is not to conform to what others think. Instead, we need to recognize that our life’s goal is to find our own unique way in the world, to find the way that we move from being kiss-ass to being kick-ass.


That is the fundamental gift of Steve Jobs. His insane greatness was to find his own journey and to live his life this way. He didn’t worry about being weird; he only wanted to be himself.


I have been in love with Apple products since my first Apple II, which I practically bought with quarters and nickels earned in small increments. I grew up picking apricots on the property where Apple buildings now stand. I worked at Apple during the “dark days,” as alumni refer to the years between Steve Jobs’ departure and then his much-needed return. He was competitive, sure, but mostly against himself. And that, too, is a lesson for us. It has been an honor to use his products, and it was an honor to work at his company. But the greatest honor has been to emulate what he showed us by his life. That each of us must find our own path. The unmarked path.


So I ask you to join me in honoring Steve’s greatness not by trying to be Steve, but by trying to be your greatest self.


Nilofer Merchant

Nilofer Merchant ( is a corporate director and a speaker on igniting cultures of innovation’s%20Legacy%3A%20Design%20Your%20Own%20Life





When I was a young man

When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world.  I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation.  When I found I couldn’t change the nation, I began to focus on my town.  I couldn’t change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family.  Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family.  My family and I could have made an impact on our town.  Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world.  ~Author Unknown

Things which matter most

“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


It’s never too late to be what you might have been.

– George Eliot